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Sighting Tips for Open Water Swimming

Swimming in the correct direction during open water can be a challenge for most athletes. This is why learning the proper technique for sighting in open water is crucial during training. Here are a few tips for sighting that can help when you line up for your next event.

Plan Ahead

Look for buoys or landmarks to help you sight while on the swim course

Print out the swim course map and go to the swim start to look for landmarks to use while sighting. Ideally, you want to survey the area at the same time when the swim will occur. This will give you an idea of where the sun is hitting the swim course and if the glare will be an issue. 

Look for landmarks in the distance that are distinctive and easy to spot. Things like buildings, peaks of trees, or dips in the tree lines are great for spotting. Buoys can be hard to spot during the swim, and especially if you are slightly turned in the wrong direction, the significant landmarks provide an excellent alternative for sighting.

Come Up With a Game Plan

If the swim course runs parallel to the shores, use the shores to gauge if you are swimming in the correct direction. Look back towards the shore when you are taking a breath on your side while you are swimming. Also, use other swimmers to help you gauge if you are swimming in the correct direction. If you were swimming with a pack and suddenly found yourself swimming alone, popup and sight for landmarks or buoys to check if you are swimming in the right direction. 

Prep Your Gear

Keep your goggles clean and apply your favorite anti-fog spray inside the goggles before the event. A good, clean pair of tri goggles will allow you to see better and further down the swim course to spot the swim buoys and landmarks.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Tips for Sighting in Open Water

Here are some tips from seasoned triathlete and High Five Events‘ Operations Manager, John Chung. “Practice swimming with your head up in the pool. Use the cool down set for practice, and establish a rhythm for when to take a stroke for sighting. I like to swim two normal stokes and a sight stroke, pull, pull, sight. To get your head elevated slightly above water, push down instead of pulling through during the catch. 

On your next open water swim practice, figure out which way you naturally curve to when you swim. For example, I tend to swim to my right, so if the buoys are on my left on a counter-clockwise swim course, I tend to swim away from the course. So for me, I need to look for buoys to my left when I sight during the swim. Sight 2 to 3 times to correct the direction in which you are swimming. First, locate the buoy or landmark you’ll use. Second, adjust your swimming direction to get back on course. Third, continue to sight as often as needed to make sure you are swimming towards the buoy or landmark.” 

Make it a point to practice sighting during the cool-down portion of your swim sessions to have this skill mastered for your next event! Happy swimming!

Everything you need to know to find the best swim goggles for triathlon

A good pair of goggles is a tri-gear essential that can make or break your swim during your big race. That’s why it’s critical to find a pair that meet your standards and needs.  Durability, strength, comfortability, and adjustability are qualities you should look for before purchasing a new pair of tri goggles. Different kinds of goggles provide better protection, benefits, and effectiveness, depending on the type of swimming you’re doing. Get ready to race you best at your upcoming tri with our recommendations of the best triathlon swim goggles.

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind before buying your pair:

Size Matters

The most notable difference between pool goggles and tri or open water goggles is tri goggles are bigger for a broader range of vision. This feature is critical to maximize your field of vision to properly sight while swimming for other athletes, buoys, and the almighty swim finish line. Tri goggles often come in various sizes, so make sure you get the pair that best fits your face without compromising your sight.

Pay Attention to Tint

Style may be important, but you don’t want to compromise style for function and vice versa. Tinted goggles may appeal to you more, but if you’re doing an open water race with muggy water, heavily tinted goggles would not be in your best interest. Plus, if you’re new to open water swimming, limiting your already hindered vision may be intimidating for most swimmers.Tinted vs. Untinted Swim Goggles

Train in the Goggles You Will Race In

This is the best way to avoid any race-morning mishaps from keeping you from performing your best on race day. Adjust your goggles to the exact tightness you’re comfortable with to prevent your goggles from filling up with water or even falling off mid-race. Pro Tip: Always have a second pair of goggles once you find a pair you like. It is always good to have on race morning in case something happens to your googles on site.

UV Protection

You protect your eyes during every other portion of the tri, and the swim is no exception. Most goggles typically have this feature, but double-check and make sure you get a pair with UV protection. The sun’s rays reflect off the water and make it hard to see, that’s why goggles with UV protection will shield your eyes from any damage and keep your vision manageable on sunny training or race days.

Check Out Our Top 5 Triathlon Goggles

Roka R1 Goggles

  • Long-lasting silicone straps
  • Great anti-fog and
  • Stylish

Speedo Covert Mirrored Swim Goggles

  • Adjustable & comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Wide-angle optical lens

New Wave Fusion Swim Goggles

  • Maximum comfort with leak-resistant seal
  • Low price, customizable and precise vision
  • leak-resistant seal

Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

 

  • Curved lens technology for 180 Vision
  • Smoke lens
  • Soft seals for extra comfort

AqtivAqua Wide View Swim Goggles

  • 100% UV Protection
  • No-slip double strap
  • Great for indoor and outdoor swimming

You’re All Set!

Now you have all the tools you need to find the perfect pair of goggles to take you to the finish line at your upcoming tri! Didn’t see your fave goggles on this list? Want us to give them a try and add them to this list? Reach out on Facebook or  Twitter and let us hear your thoughts!

At Kerrville Tri, your safety is our top priority. Here are a few of the precautions we take to make sure our swim course is as safe as possible

Time Trial Start

The time trial start consists of starting one person at a time at approximately 2-second intervals.  Participants will start with their assigned wave (eg. Intermediate, Men 40 & Over), and will line up within their wave on a first-come basis. We know open water swim courses can be intimidating, so we use this method to give the participants their own space in the water.  Before each race morning, we also clear any debris there may be on the swim course to ensure you don’t run into anything unexpected during your swim portion.

Bright colored swim caps are used to make you more visible in the water

Participants lining up with their age group, ready to dive in!

Swim Caps

We provide swim caps to our participants according to your age group upon registration. These are the typical swim caps you would use. They are used during Kerrville Tri to keep you safe and distinguish the participants according to age group. Per USAT rules, the swim caps are always brightly colored to allow the lifeguards, and other participants, to see you throughout the swim course.

Buoys

It can be easy to become disoriented during an open water swim, especially if you’re new to the sport. You can always count on large, brightly colored buoys as markers to keep you safe and on track during the swim course. The buoys are there to help you stay on course, and make you feel more comfortable in the water. Utilize the buoys by thinking of the course in segments and swim in straight lines from buoy to buoy.

Participants swimming along the buoys in Nimitz Lake

Participants swimming along the buoys in Nimitz Lake

Lifeguards

If for any reason you should need help during the swim portion, we have kayaks with lifeguards posted throughout the swim course. To make sure our participants feel safe, we have 10 lifeguards on Saturday and 20 lifeguards on Sunday. Most of the guards will be on kayaks, while some will be onshore in case of emergency. Knowing the lifeguards are out there will make you feel safe and extra secure when taking on the Smokin’ Good Tri swim course.

Jet Skis

There are also jet skis in the water should anyone need aid quickly during the swim portion. With the lifeguards on kyaks stationed throughout the course and jet skis on standby, we have hopefully omitted anything that would cause you to feel unsafe during your swim portion. Pro tip: If you’re in the area before the tri, get out to Nimitz Lake to do a mock-swim!

With all these various measures taken to keep our swimmers safe, there shouldn’t be anything preventing you from wanting to participate in Kerrville Tri! Now the only thing left for you to do is get to training, and decide which suit you should wear on race day.